Ancient shipwreck filled with porcelain treasure discovered in South China Sea
According to researchers, one of the ships appeared to export mainly porcelain, and another imported wood. A preliminary judgment of the cultural relics found in the water show they are believed to be from the Zhengde period of the Ming Dynasty from 1506 to 1521.
BEIJING, China – Researchers are celebrating a milestone in China's development of deep-sea archeology after two large ancient shipwrecks were recently discovered in the South China Sea.
China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage said this was the first time ancient ships sailing and returning to the same sea area had been discovered in the country.
Yan Yalin, the agency's director of archeology, said that this major discovery proved the historical fact that Chinese ancestors developed, utilized and traveled to and from the South China Sea.
"The well-preserved relics are of high historical, scientific and artistic value. It may be a world-class archeological discovery in the deep sea," Yan said.
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The ships were found about a mile deep in the water on the northwest slope of the sea and located only about 10 nautical miles apart. According to researchers, one of the ships appeared to export mainly porcelain, and the other imported wood.
A preliminary judgment of the cultural relics found in the water show they are believed to be from the Zhengde period of the Ming Dynasty from 1506 to 1521.
In one of the sunken ships, many piles of cultural relics were suspected to be separated by the vessel's cabin. The estimated 100,000 items were mostly porcelain and were scattered over tens of thousands of square miles.
Numerous logs were found, which were of similar size and neatly stacked, on the other ship. Some items on this ship possibly dated back to the reign of Emperor Hongzhi (1488-1505).
It was preliminarily considered an ancient shipwreck that loaded goods from overseas and sailed to China.